Old Testament Story List

Jeremiah

While Jehoiakim was king, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Take a roll of a book and write in it all the messages I have given you for the people of Israel and Judah and all the nations. Perhaps the people will seek forgiveness for their sins when they hear this book read."

Jeremiah called Baruch to help him. Jeremiah

called Baruch to help him. Jeremiah spoke the words God had given, and Baruch wrote them on the scroll. The two men worked for a long time. Finally the scroll was finished.

Jeremiah said, "You know I am not allowed in the temple any more, so I cannot read this book to the people there. You take it and read it in the temple on a special day when there will be many people to hear. You tell them that these are the words of the Lord. When they hear this, maybe they will repent of their sins."

Baruch obeyed. One of the priest's sons was so impressed with the book that he hurried to the palace to tell the princes. He told all he could remember what Baruch had said. The princes were so excited that they sent for Baruch to come and read the book for them.

Eagerly the princes listened to every word. How frightened they became when they heard that their country would be captured because the people had forsaken God! They believed God's message. "We must tell the king all these words," they decided.

The princes were not sure the king would obey Jeremiah's words. He might even be angry at Jeremiah and Baruch. In times past the king had been very harsh with Jeremiah for speaking out against the sins of the county.

"Take Jeremiah and hide," the princes told Baruch. "Let no one know where you are. Then we will tell the king about God's message in this book."

The princes brought the book to King Jehoiakim as he sat before his blazing fireplace. Jehoiakim commanded that the book be read aloud. As soon as three or four columns had been read, the king took his knife, cut them off the scroll, and threw them into the fire.

Except for the princes, those who watched did not seem the least bit afraid. They did not take the words of the Lord seriously. "Don't burn the roll," the princes begged, but their pleading did no good. Finally, the entire book had been burned.

When Jeremiah learned what had happened, he told Baruch, "Take another roll and write in it all the words that were in the book Jehoiakim destroyed."

The second book was longer than the first because Jeremiah wrote about Jehoiakim's punishment. And the words that Jeremiah wrote were true. Not long afterwards the great king of the Chaldeans came and took many people of Judah away to be slaves in Babylon. King Jehoiakim was put in prison for many years.

Even with the changes in kings, Jeremiah's troubles did not end. While Zedekiah was king, the Chaldeans returned to besiege Jerusalem again. Jeremiah went among his people warning them that the Chaldeans would win. The princes became so angry with Jeremiah that they had him thrown into a dungeon.

Enemy armies came nearer and nearer Jerusalem. The city was in great danger. The king was afraid. Secretly he sent for Jeremiah. When Jeremiah came, the king asked, "Tell me, is there any word from the Lord?"

If Jeremiah's words pleased the king, the prophet would be free again. Jeremiah knew he must tell God's message faithfully even if he did have to stay in a dark dungeon.

Bravely he said, "You and your armies will be captured by the king of Babylon." Then Jeremiah wanted to know, "What have I done against you or your servants that you have put me in prison? Where are your own prophets who told you the king of Babylon would never war against us? Please do not send me back to the dungeon, or I shall die there."

The king listened carefully. This time he sent Jeremiah to the home of a prison guard. There the prophet would have better treatment.

With this little bit of freedom, Jeremiah again began to warn the people of the terrible things that were going to happen to them. The people became so angry that they threw Jeremiah into an old well that had deep mud in the bottom.

Jeremiah would have died, but Ebedmelech went to the king and pleaded for the prophet. He said, "O King, these men have done wrong by throwing Jeremiah into that pit. He will die there without food or water."

The king ordered, "Take thirty men and get Jeremiah out."

Ebedmelech found old clothes and rags and tied them together to make ropes. These they let down into the pit for Jeremiah to fasten under his armpits. Then they pulled him out.

And Jeremiah told the king, "The army will capture the city, break down its walls, and even destroy the beautiful temple of the Lord. But God will not let the Chaldean king, Nebuchadnezzar, kill the people of Jerusalem if they will offer to become his servants. Then they will not need to starve to death inside the city."

Now Jeremiah was kept in the court of the prison and treated more kindly, But he was not allowed to go through the city or talk to the people.


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